Siegelau, 29 October 1899
We received your dear letter and learned that all of you are well, which is
the main thing. One encounters unhappy circumstances again too. Things were
not quite right with our hogs this summer, for the hoof and mouth disease
was prevalent in our area and for that reason trade was severely restricted
and lower and lower prices are paid which makes it pretty bad for us. Many
of our own pigs were sick too and died, due to the great heat in August.
Otherwise we had good weather all summer long, except for September hay
harvest time, when we had two weeks of rain. We brought in six wagon loads.
The hay harvest was quite good, however, on the whole. The harvest is good
too; only our yield in oats is low. It was too dry for it and too cold at
first. The potato yield differed greatly. Wherever it was not too dry the
harvest was plentiful. We had all of ours on the summer side.* For that
reason it was just average. Up above, close to the house, next to the path
through the valley, we had some too. There the potato yield was terrible. It
was a strange kind; “Blue Giants”, they were called.
Towards the end of September we had military units quartered at our place.
They belonged to the Kurmärkish Dragoon. We had three
soldiers and three horses stationed with us, mostly Prussians, Silesians and
people from Westphalia. The horses were stabled but we had them for two
We also bought a church clock now. It has been in the railway station at
Freiburg but it is still quite good. It cost about 300 marks.** The money
I learned recently that Peter Wilhelm would like to come to Germany, his
health permitting. Well, if he is that poorly off, I doubt that he will
tolerate the journey well.
The inheritance of old Mr. Schmidt has been torn into many parts. The “old
man of wisdom” did not even have a last will, therefore his property, which
amounts to about 28,000 marks, will go to other places mostly. Each one of
the Magenmullers will inherit, Joseph, Vitus and Rosa, as far as I know,
each 1100 marks. Everything else which is the greater part goes to
Niederwinden, Simonswald and Bleibach.
Well, how is Benedict doing? Does he still live close to you? He will
probably have found himself an American girl too, soon.
A start will be made for building the railway to Elzach soon. The contracts
are let as far as I know, so that work can start within the next few weeks.
This construction however will not be of any particular value to us since
the line is running too high up. In general, the entire line stays rather
high and close to the top of the range on the east side, probably because of
the damage of high water and because of the breakthrough required later,
leading into the Kinzig Valley. The acreage was bought up for the tracks.
A regiment of artillery was stationed this fall in Freiburg, too.
Ulrich Schreiner has married too. His wife is Berbel, daughter of Abelone.
She is however almost too young for him, being almost 20 years younger than
he. He will do all right and he is improving himself.
I do not have any additional news items. Thank God everyone is well in our
family here. Little Joseph is healed up well again since he was caught under
a wagon.*** Our family has again increased by a girl.****
Well, I want to conclude now. Therefore best regards to all of you. Let us
hope that the old century will come to a good end and that the new one will
have a good beginning. Thus my best wishes from your brother,
This fall we have very good weather
*Meaning the sunny side of the valley.
**Again referring to the Arms of Krupp (Manchester), where he states that in
1883, 750 marks equaled $561.00, if the value was the same in 1899, the
clock would have cost about $225.00.
*** Joseph, born July 24, 1895, would have been four years old.
**** Berta, born June 9, 1899.